Researchers who looked at a nationally representative group of more than 170,000 US adults found the difference actual weight and perceived ideal weight was a better indicator of mental and physical health than body mass index (BMI).
"The obesity 'epidemic' might have a lot more to do with our collective preoccupation with obesity than obesity itself," the study's lead author, Dr. Peter Muennig of Columbia University in New York City, told Reuters Health. "We still need to focus on healthy diet and exercise as public health officials, but we need to take fatness out of the equation. Were we to stop looking at body fat as a problem, the problem may well disappear."
Well, no kidding. Fat is not the problem, it's people's obsession with it (by people, I mean MSM, the diet industry, big pharma, and the medical community, who have made it an obsession for the rest of the world).
Some researchers have suggested that stress due to stigmatization could be a factor in the health problems obese people have, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, he and his colleagues note in the March issue of the American Journal of Public Health.
Stress? Stigmatization? Yeah, there's that, all right. (I don't know that stress can be a cause of diabetes or high blood pressure, but it certainly does make it worse if you already have those or have other risks for them besides weight.)
When the researchers used statistical techniques to control for the influence of age and body mass index, they found that the more dissatisfied a person was with his or her weight, the more "bad days" he or she had. The relationship was strongest in non-Hispanic whites and women.
This is really a no-brainer. Why the hell did it take so long for someone to get a clue and say "We really need to research this and get the word out there that obsessing about fat can be worse than being fat, as far as health is concerned"?
As far as how many bad days a month a person has, depending on how much weight they need to lose, I think the people who participated were under-reporting the number of bad days they had (not knowing how the questions were worded, and what constituted a bad day leaves a lot to be desired, IMO). Women who thought they needed to lose 1% of their weight had .1 more bad days, and women who thought they needed to lose 20% of their weight had 4.3 more bad days a month than women who were happy with their weight. Didn't say how many bad days a month women who were happy with their weight had, so we really don't have a good basis for comparison here. How many bad days did women who were happy with their weight have? I would think that a lot of this is subjective, depending on how well your day goes in other areas of your life (how easy was it to get the kids up and off to school, did you have an argument with a co-worker or your boss, did you get cut off in traffic, etc, etc as well as did you get nasty comments from passers-by/co-workers/doctors/etc about your weight on that day). Did they control just for feelings about weight?
Women experience more stigma for being fat than men, and excess weight may be less acceptable among white people than among African-Americans or Hispanics, the researchers note.
Ya think? That's all I can say, really.
In a study now under review, Muennig said his group found that being overweight doesn't increase mortality in ethnic groups that are more accepting of heavy people. "For instance, African-Americans as a group experience almost no excess mortality, even for women who are 5'5" and 250 pounds," he noted in an e-mail interview.
But that's coming to an end, folks. The diet industry/big pharma/medical community are hungry for more dollars so those of you who aren't white are the next targets of the OMG OBESITY EPIDEMIC hysteria. They're starting to work on you right now (witness Queen Latifah shilling for Jenny Craig).
"There needs to be a realization among public health officials and medical professionals that the messages we are giving the public could be doing more harm than good," Muennig said.
Really? It's about damned time someone figured this out. Now if doctors would just believe it and start to practice in earnest "First, do no harm" by seeing us as people instead of walking blobs of fat.